Offbeat: Sunday Mass at 2:30AM?

This is from last week but seems appropriate to post after the weekend:

Old-time Pittsburghers remember when a church in the city offered services in the early morning hours for employees who worked odd hours. One church is now bringing that tradition back with a 2:30 a.m. service.

… The early-morning Mass tradition began in 1905 and was frequented by employees from seven daily newspapers. Some of the employees had just finished their shifts while others would attend Mass and then go deliver newspapers. (Beauer County Times)

The reason, however, for bringing back this early, early morning Mass is different today:

The Rev. Carmen D’Amico says he’s adding a weekly Mass on Sundays just after the bars close. The church is located next to the new Consol Energy Center. D’Amico is hoping to attract those out for a late Saturday night and officials have been handing out fliers at local colleges to publicize the new service.

I don’t think this is a good idea. Do we really expect 20-somethings who have just finished closing down a bar to be prepared to participate at Mass worthily? Do we want them passing out in the pews instead of getting themselves home safely? Shouldn’t we rather encourage them to hit the sack earlier and (if they have to) attend a later Mass on Sunday afternoon? Or attend a Saturday Vigil Mass the day before? It’s not like people who want to go out on Saturday night don’t already have plenty of ways to attend Mass while, ahem, sober. Offering a Mass at 2:30AM encourages them to think this sort of weekend habit is appropriate.

I’m all for ministering to people where they are at and making it easy for Catholics to fulfill their Sunday obligation, but this seems like a needless concession to young adult culture’s obsession with spending weekend nights in college (and beyond) carousing.

I think we should challenge young people to make Mass, not closing down the bar, their Sunday morning priority.





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